Former Blackpool prospect George Thomason returned to haunt his old club with a spectacular second-half winner for Bolton at the Toughsheet Community Stadium today, writes Trevor Baxter.Thomason smashed in a 20-yard screamer to make it a day to remember for the one-time Bloomfield Road hopeful released by the Seasiders at 16. And victory was doubly sweet for Trotters boss Ian Evatt, with the former Blackpool star winning his first ever managerial head-to-head against his old paymasters.
Blackpool’s defeat was only their second in nine games in all competitions. But they did have chances to end the home side’s winning run, which has now been extended to six games.
Karamoko Dembele hit the post in the first half, while CJ Hamilton miscued in the second with the stalemate still intact. Indeed, within three minutes, the Seasiders were a lick of paint from taking the lead, when Albie Morgan’s pass forward picked out Jordan Rhodes who headed into the path of Dembele.
Rhodes’ strike partner fired a low, left-foot shot from 20 yards which struck Nathan Baxter’s right hand upright.
Dembele was certainly a live wire. It was his trickery that drew a 21st-minute foul from Josh Sheehan to earn the Welsh international the game’s first booking.
Bolton’s rashness in the tackle brought two more free-kicks in promising positions for the visitors. But James Husband lashed one shot wide from Morgan’s delivery, while Matt Pennington couldn’t direct a header on target via Hamilton’s cross.
However, it was further encouragement for the visitors, briefly reduced to 10 men with skipper Ollie Norburn requiring treatment for what seemed an innocuous clash with Dion Charles.
Paris Maghoma’s dive to try to win a free-kick off Dembele only earned him a caution from referee Ben Toner.
Wanderers were feeding off scraps such was Blackpool's defensive structure, and it took them 39 minutes to win their first corner. But the Seasiders’ good work was almost undone in the closing stages of the half.
Randell Williams curled a left-foot free-kick onto a post, while the former Hull man’s second attempt moments later forced keeper Danny Grimshaw into an unconvincing save. Fortunately for the stopper, his fumble was scrambled away from Charles’ boot.
Within 40 seconds of the re-start Blackpool were defending again as Morgan blocked a Charles effort at the expense of a corner. Bolton continued to now look the most potent attacking force and Grimshaw was called into action again after 54 minutes. Sheehan and Thomason combined to put Charles into space but the Northern Ireland international’s effort was palmed away.
A set piece always offered the Tangerines hope of a breakthrough and Pennington headed narrowly wide from Morgan’s delivery. Charles, however, was finding more chances and via Thomason’s centre Grimshaw had to be alert.
As the game moved into the final half hour opportunities opened up at both ends. Hamilton will feel he should have done better as Husband teased a cross to the far post. Maghoma then fired over from outside the box in retaliation as both teams searched a potential winner.
Thomason, however, made no mistake thumping in a long-range thunderbolt from substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s assist.